Tell us about your chance to visit NASA.
At school one day, I saw a newspaper on the floor. It featured the photograph of a girl and a rocket. Interested, I read the paper. It was about a girl who had gone to NASA after writing an examination for a company offering online tutoring services. Seeing that, I too wanted to go to NASA. When I asked my teacher if I could attend it she said yes. Those who were playing with me said it would be too big an achievement for me to think about. But from a very young age, I have always proven such people wrong. When someone says I can't do something. I always attempt to finish it. So I challenged my friends. I went home, used my uncle's phone to understand what the examination was about, and gathered all related information. Then I wrote it. It was the first online examination I ever wrote: it was a very new experience. I won the second rank in India, and a chance to visit NASA.
Did the win kindle your interest in Science, Maths, and Social Sciences?
If I remember correctly, these interests and the dream to visit NASA began when I was in primary school. The reason for that would be my teachers. At a time when students didn't have much access to mobile phones and other gadgets, my teachers gave me information they found on newspapers, television, etc. That's what kindles the interest in me. Not just these, I attend many competitions at school, including sports such as carrom, chess, and kabaddi.
Though you won the competition you were unable to visit NASA due to the COVID-19 outbreak. What happened then?
Once the examination results were out, I was told that I would have to provide the flight cost myself. I'm the breadwinner of my family, and do not have the money for that. But then, a few social workers offered to help by starting a fund. And so that need was met. After that a non-government organisation offered to pay for it. Since the flight cost was already paid, they offered to build a house for me since I live in a hut. I told them that I didn't want a house, and if they really wanted to help, they could build a public bathroom for my village since most houses didn't have one. So now, there are 126 bathrooms / toilets in our town.
You mentioned you're the breadwinner of your family. What work do you do?
I live with my mother and brother. My village Adhanakottai is famous for cashew nuts. I work at a factory that manufactures cashew products. In summer, I harvest cashew fruit.
What are your interests?
I read books, draw, play, and conduct tuition classes for students up to Class X.
What would you like to say to children who have big dreams but don't have the support to achieve them?
If you believe you can achieve your dream, you can do it. If there is a will, there is a way. If we can't do it, nobody can. To achieve our dreams, background, money, and status do not matter.
What course are you going to study after school?
I have just completed the academic year for Class XII. I have not yet thought about the course I am going to study.
How do you feel about supporting your family?
When someone imagines their work to be impossible, it turns impossible. When I want something, I put in my best effort. If I get it, great. If I don't, I am not bothered much.
Picture Credit : Google